New Year, Big Surge: Message to Patients Jan 2022
We are welcoming a new year in the midst of the biggest COVID surge yet seen in Massachusetts. Daily case counts are the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic, with hospitalizations rising. Our hospitals and medical offices are in crisis with unprecedented workloads as well as staff shortages.
For the next several weeks, in order to keep all of our patients and staff safe, we may be adjusting some visits back to virtual and bringing in sicker patients who need evaluation.
Some Behavioral Health Visits (Including Med Checks) Changed to Virtual Visits:
For the next 4 weeks (at least), most behavioral health visits will be virtual only. This includes med checks for ADHD, depression, and anxiety medications. Please remember to sign onto the Patient Gateway early to complete any surveys that are required.
Sick Visits for Patients Who Have Tested Positive for COVID may be Virtual Visits:
If your symptoms are mild and don’t involve significant respiratory issues, you may be able to have your sick visit via telemedicine. Call your PCP and they can decide what will work best.
Annual Physicals may need to be rescheduled:
We know you may have waited over a year to have your “physical” with your provider, and we understand that having it rescheduled is frustrating. Your health is very important to us. We need the availability of our providers to see our sick patients right now. Rescheduling physicals will help us leverage our limited resources to provide care to those patients who are currently sick. If you have issues that need attention now, please let our staff know and we will schedule an office visit either in person or virtually. Please continue to go to the lab for your bloodwork and continue to follow through with health maintenance appointments (mammography, etc.).
All COVID Unvaccinated Patients are Strongly Encouraged to Change Their Visits to Virtual Visits (and to GET VACCINATED!):
Fortunately, 75% of Massachusetts residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID. If you and/or your child are in the remaining minority of patients who are not fully vaccinated against COVID, we strongly encourage you to switch your visit to a virtual visit to protect you and our staff. While we are not requiring this switch (for now), we hope you will take it into consideration. As a reminder, booster shots are now available for everyone ages 12 and up. The Pfizer booster can be administered FIVE months after the second dose and the Moderna booster can be administered SIX months after the second dose of vaccine.
Do Not Call for Lab Results – All Covid-related Lab Results Will Be Reported On Patient Gateway.
All labs (including COVID results, throat cultures and others) will be posted in Patient Gateway. Please check for results there. COVID tests are taking at least 1-2 days to get results. Please check for your results on Patient Gateway before calling the office for test results. If you are having difficulty accessing Patient Gateway or are not enrolled, please call the office for results or, if tests are routine, wait for notification of results from your provider.
If you would like to enroll in Patient Gateway to receive results as soon as they are available, go to patientgateway.massgeneralbrigham.org and click on ENROLL NOW. On the next screen, click ENROLL NOW under “No Activation Code?” and then enter your demographic information. A tip sheet with complete instructions can be found on our website.
Rude and Abusive Behavior Will Not Be Tolerated:
The past two years have been a time of immense stress and loss for all of us. We are all dealing with intense emotions and frustrations. We understand that stress levels are high - please know that we are doing the best we can to help care for you and your family. Sadly, we have seen a significant rise in the mistreatment of staff members. This will not be tolerated. We have instructed our staff that, should they receive any aggressive or abusive behavior, they are to end the interaction and report the patient to our practice manager. Upon review, patients or family members who are found to be inappropriate may be asked to leave our practice.